Behavioural biases in the judiciary: food for thought?

Behavioural economics has taught us that human decision-making is not perfectly ‘rational’; so to what extent can we expect judges to be free from bias? We explore some recent literature on the topic and discuss potential implications. Although—as human beings—we can never be perfectly free from behavioural bias, our judicial processes can adopt measures to bolster fairness and accuracy in the decision-making process

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The risks of using algorithms in business: artificial price collusion

Increasingly, prices are set by algorithms rather than humans. Many competition authorities have voiced their concerns that this may enable firms (knowingly or otherwise) to avoid competitive pressure and collude. Exactly how would such algorithmic collusion work? And what can businesses and other organisations that use pricing algorithms expect from competition authorities in the future?

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Here to stay: regression analysis in follow-on cartel damages

Regression analysis is a powerful statistical tool that can be used to estimate the damages caused by competition law infringements. In recent years, this type of analysis has increasingly been used to quantify follow-on damages claims in Europe. However, this trend is not yet reflected in final judgments by national courts. Why is this the case, and how might this change in the future?

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Making a difference: supporting investment in low-carbon electricity generation

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is one of the UK government’s main mechanisms for supporting investment in low-carbon electricity generation. In the last two CfD allocation rounds, offshore wind generators secured 95% of the available support at much lower prices than previously achieved. What does this mean for the design of the scheme in the future? Is there any merit in guaranteeing some support for less developed (and more costly) technologies, and what other objectives are policymakers considering when choosing technologies to compete with each other for CfDs?

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The risks of using algorithms in business: artificial intelligence and real discrimination

Algorithms influence many aspects of our work and social lives. They affect what adverts we see, what shows we watch, and whether we get a job. As these tools become increasingly widespread, they pose new challenges to businesses. We look at concerns regarding the use of algorithms in areas where the role of computer programs and complex modelling has traditionally been limited, and consider whether AI might result in illegal discrimination

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The risks of using algorithms in business: demystifying AI

Today algorithms influence all aspects of our lives, from how much we pay for groceries and what adverts we see, to the decisions taken by health professionals. As these tools become increasingly widespread, they pose new challenges to businesses. In order to begin to ‘demystify’ algorithms and AI, we ask: what benefits and risks do they bring to the economy?

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Two-sided market definition: some common misunderstandings

The European Commission is consulting on updating its 1997 Market Definition Notice, which provides important guidance on identifying relevant markets in competition cases. One hotly debated topic is defining markets for two-sided platforms. We discuss some common misunderstandings on this topic, including on how to apply the hypothetical monopolist test to digital platform markets

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A formula for success: reviewing the social discount rate

The social discount rate (SDR) is a crucial component of the UK government’s approach to project and policy appraisal. Government guidance has stipulated the same SDR (3.5%) since 2003. In the first of two Agenda in focus articles, we show that recent research can reasonably support an SDR of under 2.5%; and that this SDR declines considerably more slowly as the appraisal period is extended than the one that is currently used

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Changing tides: how consumers and merchants are redefining the payment experience

Retail payments bring together retailers and consumers, and the two-sided nature of this market means that the design of payment methods must reflect the needs of both sides. Today, the competitive landscape for retail payments in Europe is rapidly transforming due to changing consumer preferences, technological progress, regulatory intervention and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. How are the expectations of consumers and merchants redefining the payment experience?

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Spotlight on tax and state aid: the General Court’s Apple judgment

In July 2020, the EU General Court annulled the European Commission’s decision that Ireland had granted illegal state aid of at least €13bn to Apple through two tax rulings. The General Court’s judgment in the Apple case was one of the most keenly awaited judgments in the area of state aid. What are the key economic issues raised by the General Court in this case? More generally, how can multinational companies and national tax authorities mitigate state aid risks?

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Abuse, She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher and her fellow protagonists in whodunnit stories, such as Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, knew the formula: find the motive of the suspect, and you have solved half the crime. Dr Gunnar Niels, Partner at Oxera, discusses how competition authorities sometimes behave as if they were in a detective novel by Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, focusing on the intent of the dominant company.

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